Trailnet Classics | Message from the rides manager


Trailnet Classics | Message from the rides manager

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us about the 2020 Trailnet Classics ride calendar.

We have received a lot of direct and indirect feedback about our changes to the rides. I want to acknowledge and accommodate people’s thoughts on the changes. Based on this feedback we are making adjustments to the start times of these rides.

Your input makes our events better and I appreciate it. I want these rides to be safe, fun, and memorable experiences for our riders, partners, and the communities who graciously welcome us.

We believe that bikes are not just a great way to get around but an even greater tool to bring folks together and build community. These rides support our work to advocate for safer streets for everyone and allow us to better engage these host cities and neighborhoods with our work.

Beginning in 2019, Trailnet started reviewing its distance rides to look at improving safety and rider experience. Coming into this position, my main focus was to build on the existing success of these rides, bring additional experience, and wider industry standards to the process, and give our members and riders a great experience.

Our overarching goal is to improve the safety and the community-building aspects of these rides without changing the core of these events: high-quality supported bike rides that build an appreciation and awareness for cycling.

Group Starts
Switching from a scattered start to a group start has been the change that has drawn the most attention and is the biggest change from previous years.

I understand this is a major change, and I appreciate the concerns people have shared over the shift to more-structured rides.

Changing registration and start times- Based on rider input, we are creating a second, earlier start time of our rides to address concerns of summer temperatures.

We will have two group starts. Riders can choose to depart in either a 7:30 or 8:30 A.M group start.

At both starts we will encourage riders to be mindful of their own ability and comfort level when positioning themselves in the staging area. Group start etiquette and safety will also be covered in the rider briefing.

We may make additional changes based on potential severe weather conditions, with appropriate notification time before the rides.

We are still committed to the benefits a group start offers:

  • Each start will have a police escort for the beginning section (10-12 mph. for approx. 1 mile) of each ride, to increase visibility and safety. People will be able to set their own pace after the escort has lead riders safely onto the course.
  • A rider briefing on the route and road conditions will allow more-consistent communications.
    The set start time will also improve the responsiveness of SAG and first aid support by having a clearer understanding of riders’ positions along each route.
  • The group start times shorten the volunteer shifts we ask including registration, rest stops, driving SAG vehicles, and managing traffic.
  • The set start times will help create a greater sense of community between riders of all experience levels. It allows more people to connect and socialize over coffee before the ride.
  • The group start addresses the concerns of people who feel safer riding in groups.

These changes also allow us to better work with municipal agencies on the timing of our rides as part of the permitting and insurance process. We need to operate within the agreements and expectations of the host communities and their agencies.

We are confident these benefits as well as day-of safety measures outweigh the potential challenges of a group start.

I want to keep hearing your thoughts and appreciate the chance to talk through these changes. Please shoot me an email or give me a call.

Matt Hartman
Rides Manager